If you suffer from chronic pain and stiffness, the underlying cause may involve tight muscle knots known as trigger points. These trigger points are commonly associated with many kinds of discomfort. Fortunately, you can obtain relief from these issues with the aid of a healing technique called dry needling. Our chiropractic team here at Palmer Chiropractic Center offers dry needling alongside our other non-surgical treatment services to help you regain your former quality of life.
What Is Dry Needling?
Dry needling involves the insertion of needles into muscle tissue for the purpose of alleviating myofascial pain. This myofascial pain typically occurs when muscles form hard knots called trigger points. These trigger points not only feel painful or tender in their own right, but they also refer pain along nerve pathways to other, sometimes quite remote parts of the body. The insertion of the needle into a trigger point forces the knotted muscle tissue to relax, which in turn stops the flow of painful sensations.
You may think that this sounds similar to acupuncture, but dry needling and acupuncture work in very different ways. Acupuncture aims to correct a wide range of physical disorders based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Dry needling is a Western technique that focuses on relieving specific neuromuscular symptoms caused by trigger points or other myofascial problems such as adhesions (internal scar tissue buildup).
Conditions Treated by Dry Needling
Because referred pain plays a role in so many chronic pain syndromes, dry needling can prove a highly versatile healing modality. Dr. Palmer may prescribe it for headaches, pelvic pain, neck or back pain, tendonitis, temporomandibular joint disorder, golfer's elbow, tennis elbow, or even "phantom" pain sensations. Dry needling's ability to relieve soft tissue pain also makes it highly effective for common overuse or strain-related disorders, including repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Trigger points are areas within the muscle that are contracted and unable to release. This can be from over use, trauma, or nutritional deficiency causing a lack of cellular energy production known as ATP. The muscle fibers are drawn tighter on either side of the trigger point making that area more likely to strain during exertion. Relieving these trigger points theoretically reduces the risk of strain in that muscle during the sporting event. We have treated soccer players, track athletes, marathon runners, ultra runners, climbers, football players, cheerleaders, baseball players, volleyball players, softball players, and iron man competitors in advance of their competitions with excellent results. One marathon runner indicated that she was much less sore the day after the event when we dry needled her legs the week prior to the event than she had ever been before dry needling. If you have an event coming up, you should schedule a consultation as soon as possible.
What to Expect From a Dry Needling Treatment
Similar to acupuncture, the needles employed for dry needling sessions are exceptionally thin. This means that the needles themselves cause little pain, with some patients reporting that they only felt pressure. Our team in Lynchburg & Altavista will use proper protective equipment and practices to ensure a sterile environment for the procedure. While dry needling is considered safe for the vast majority of people, we may recommend alternatives if you are pregnant, recovering from recent surgery, or taking blood thinners. Contact Palmer Chiropractic Center of Lynchburg at 434-237-2299 to learn more.